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  • Autumn Newsletter 2016

    November, 2016
    The year 2015/2016 exceeded all expectations. Remarkably, 83 schools and 2 prisons were visited with over 8,600 young people taking part, and since 2000 c.90,000 students and over 200 schools have been involved – a quite outstanding achievement. Click to read our CEO's autumn update.
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Autumn Newsletter 2016

November, 2016

OLYMPIAN YEAR for EXPLORE

If 2014/15 had been the best year for Explore with 71 schools and 8,000 benefiting from the ‘Explore Experience’, the year 2015/2016 exceeded all expectations.

Remarkably, 83 schools and 2 prisons were visited with over 8,600 young people taking part, and since 2000 c.90,000 students and over 200 schools have been involved – a quite outstanding achievement. A number of new schools came on board during the past year including:  

Cantell, Southampton.  La Sainte Union, Camden. Redden Court, Havering. 
St Benedict’s, Ealing.  Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Reading. 
Christ the King College, Lewisham.  Everest Community College, Basingstoke.

Such success was only possible because of the dedication and commitment of the Area Development Officers, who work tirelessly to make contacts with schools, persevering with numerous phone calls and emails. We are also wonderfully supported by our volunteer couples who give of their time so readily.

 

Explore’s raison d’être

Thousands of young people in Britain today, have little experience of relationships that work and which lead to stability, and Explore, with its unique methodology, enables them to address the issues surrounding lasting relationships and marriage within a secure school setting.  The objective of Explore is to create the foundations to assist young people to achieve greater stability in family life, thereby resulting in fewer broken marriages and dysfunctional families.

Explore relies heavily on over 180 volunteers and 14 part-time staff to deliver its programme each year.  It has no premises, works entirely from the homes of staff (including the registered office), and is able, as a result, to keep overheads to a minimum.  Annual income is in the region of £150,000 -£160,000.

 

Recent student comments (after dialogue with married couples)

  • Made me think about the importance of marriage.
  • I will be a lot more careful when it comes to relationships.
  • Love my wife and be equal with my wife.
  • Gave me a different perspective.
  • Forgive more.
  • I am not so afraid of commitment now.
  • I am truly inspired by their honest show of affection – I really enjoyed it.

 

Affirmation from school staff:

Kent school

“ The leader was professional and confident.  The couples were personable and polite and the girls were treated with respect as adults.  They all had the chance to ask questions and challenge their own cynical views.  Most girls found the session rewarding and interesting.  The couples were not at all didactic.” 

South London school

“ Speaking to me many said that is was the best thing that they had done in school for PSHE.  The only complaint was, they wanted more.  One young lady, whose parents unbeknown to me are in the middle of a very nasty divorce, said that she understood now what it was like from a grown-up perspective and that it had helped her.  Cannot thank you enough.”

Hampshire school

What was you most significant experience?

“Watching a couple really open up to each other and the audience. Good communication and great role models”.
 

What was great about the session?

“A relaxed atmosphere.  The engagement of virtually every pupil. As a married person myself I found the whole event fascinating”.

 

Highlights

Growth has been impressive in the RC Archdiocese of Westminster (15 schools visited in 2015/2016) and in the new area of Romford/Havering with 9 Explore sessions in a fifteen month period.  Further expansion is anticipated. 

Kent and Hampshire continue to be particularly effective in recruiting new couples and accessing schools, and during the year two additional Development Officers were appointed in North Derbyshire and East London.

Encouragingly, a new regional centre is proposed in the Greater Birmingham area and it has already two staff in place, and aims to build over a three year timetable a network of volunteers and business representatives serving between 30 and 50 schools in the region.  Some initial steps have been taken to work alongside other charities whose aims and strategy are complementary to that of Explore.  There is also the proposal to deliver the programme into Young Offender Institutions in the West Midlands, commencing with HMP Swinford and HMP Brinsford.

 

Annual Lecture

We were delighted to welcome Sir Paul Coleridge (Founder of the Marriage Foundation and a Patron of Explore) to deliver the annual lecture in London in April 2016.  About 50 people attended and Sir Paul, in his inspirational address, highlighted and reinforced the benefits of  lasting relationships and marriage within society, and urged Explore to continue its valuable work in the coming months.

 

New Patrons

The Right Reverend Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, and Mrs Mary Kent (wife of former esteemed Chairman of Trustees, John Kent) are warmly welcomed.  In addition, Mr Angus Somerville has joined the Board of Trustees.

 

Plans for 2016/17

  • Appoint a Development Officer for South London with particular emphasis on recruiting couples from the black community, which is vital as Explore approaches schools in the area.
  • Re-design the website.
  • Give increasing support to existing Explore areas through the recently appointed Local Development Officer co-ordinator and mentor.
  • The Development Plan for 2014 – 17 anticipated steady growth throughout the three year period and this has been achieved in the first two years.  However, further progress will depend on a greater income generation than has been possible so far.  Can you help?

 

Thank you

The success of the charity is not possible without the passion and involvement of so many people and if you are a volunteer or funder, please accept our grateful thanks for all that you do or contribute.  Every academic year is a new challenge with myriad opportunities, and please pray that we will rise to them. 

 

With all good wishes,
 

Chris Ford

Chief Executive

 

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Registered Charity: 1084226
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